Suckleya suckleyana (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Poison suckleya (Suckleya suckleyana) is a native herb found in the southern Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. This plant has caused losses of cattle and possibly sheep in the western United States. The plant is not normally ingested, but in times of scarce forage, it may be eaten in sufficient amounts to cause death. It contains an unknown cyanogenic glycoside that upon ingestion of sufficient quantity can release cyanide in the animal system, resulting in cytotoxic hypoxia. Experiments with cattle, sheep, laboratory rabbits, and guinea pigs have shown the cyanogenic potential of poison suckleya. This plant is not usually ingested by animals and is not common in the southern prairies. However, poisoning can occur (Thorp and Deem 1938, Berry and Gonzales 1986).

References:

  • Thorp, F., Deem, A. W. 1938. Suckleya suckleyana, a poisonous plant. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 47: 192-197.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Suckleya suckleyana (Torr.) Rydb.
Vernacular name(s):
poison suckleya
Scientific family name:
Chenopodiaceae
Vernacular family name:
goosefoot

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Suckleya suckleyana

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063.94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Images: Suckleya suckleyana - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • leaves
  • stems

References:

  • Berry, T. J., Gonzales, P. 1986. Do your cattle-owning clients know about this poisonous range plant? Vet. Med., 81: 1055-1056.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

An unknown cyanogenic glycoside is found in poison suckleya. Upon ingestion, cyanide is released in the animal's system. The cyanide potential of this plant was measured at 0.01-0.24%. After fasting, sheep showed transitory symptoms, with forced feedings of large amounts of the plant containing 0.011% cyanide potential. Plant material measured at 0.0364% cyanide potential is lethal to cattle, guinea pigs, and sheep (Thorp and Deem 1938).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • unknown chemical

References:

  • Berry, T. J., Gonzales, P. 1986. Do your cattle-owning clients know about this poisonous range plant? Vet. Med., 81: 1055-1056.
  • Thorp, F., Deem, A. W. 1938. Suckleya suckleyana, a poisonous plant. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 47: 192-197.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Cattle

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Ingesting abundant plant material causes cyanide to be released into cattle. Symptoms include glassy eyes, muscular twitching, dribbling urine, staggering, cyanosis, fast and weak heart, labored breathing, spasms, and death by asphyxiation. Postmortem findings showed black-colored blood, congestion of the mucous membrane on the folds of the abomasum and initial part of the duodenum, and a distended bladder. Treatment includes intravenous sodium nitrate and sodium thiosulfate, with a laxative to remove plant material from the rumen (Thorpe and Deem 1938, Berry and Gonzales 1986).

References:

  • Thorp, F., Deem, A. W. 1938. Suckleya suckleyana, a poisonous plant. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 47: 192-197.

Sheep

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

On the rangelands of the western United States, sheep were believed to have died as a result of ingesting poison suckleya. Sheep were experimentally poisoned after they were force-fed plant material. Sickness and death resulted. Symptoms were similar to those of cattle that died from cytotoxic hypoxia (Thorpe and Deem 1938).

References:

  • Thorp, F., Deem, A. W. 1938. Suckleya suckleyana, a poisonous plant. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 47: 192-197.

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